While walking on the beach, a 4-year-old casually discovered a dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago.
Lily Wilder was out with her family in south Wales at Bendricks Bay near Barry in December when she discovered a footprint in a loose block sitting near the ocean the Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales said in a press release.
“It was Lily and [her dad] Richard who discovered the footprint,” her mom Sally said in a statement. “Lily saw it as they were walking along and said, ‘Daddy, look.’ When Richard came home and showed me the photograph, I thought it looked amazing. Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there.”
And while the spot is known for dinosaur footprints, Lily’s find turned out to be “the best specimen ever found on this beach,” said Cindy Howells, the museum’s paleontology curator.
The footprint is named grallator, and was made 220 million years ago by a dinosaur, though, the exact type remains unclear. It’s about 4 inches long, and the creature that left it is believed to have been a slender animal that walked on its two hind feet, standing about 2 ½ feet tall and 8 feet long.
Howells said that the find will help paleontologists gain a better understanding of how these dinosaurs moved.
And while no fossilized bones were left behind in the area that might help indicate exactly which type of dinosaur left the mark, similar footprints left by a Coelophysis have been found in the U.S.
“Its spectacular preservation may help scientists establish more about the actual structure of their feet as the preservation is clear enough to show individual pads and even claw impressions,” the release said.
Sally Wilder said that it was Lily’s grandmother who encouraged the family to reach out to local experts to continue the investigation, according to NBC News.
“She is really excited but doesn’t quite grasp how amazing it is,” the mom informed the outlet.
The footprint (which was legally removed from the beach with permission from Natural Resource Wales) was taken to the National Museum Cardiff.
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